This story is part ofCNET’s full coverage from and around Apple’s annual developer conference.
iOS 16 and Android 13 both come with new features that aim to replace your physical wallet and improve connections with smart home gadgets and connected car interfaces.
Why it matters
The updates underline the common vision of Apple and Google to make our phones more important in everyday life.
Youror is about to become even more closely woven into the non-digital aspects of your life. It is one of the most important takeaways from and , the latest mobile software updates from Apple and Google, coming later this year. Both technology giants want to turn your phone into an electronic wallet for storing your legal ID, and bring your phone closer to your identity than ever before. Companies are also continuing to improve the way phones communicate with cars, smart home gadgets and other everyday devices.
Bothand are filled with tweaks and new features, some of which are more important than digital wallets and faster connections (such as to protect victims of domestic violence and Google’s new privacy updates). But the overlap between the two operating systems underscores the changing role of the telephone in our lives. Based on Apple’s and Google’s latest announcements, what’s up? around Your phone will be as important as what happens on your phone.
The more intimately our phones are tied to daily necessities such as wallets, credit cards, cars and household appliances, the more difficult it will be to move from them (or switch between iPhone and Android). The concept is not new; the industry has been moving in this direction for several years. But the changes in iOS 16 and Android 13 bring significant improvements to Apple’s and Google’s respective approaches that are likely to accelerate such efforts.
Replaces the physical wallet
The digital wallet was a major focus during both Apple’s iOS 16 announcement and Google’s Android 13 preview. The most significantis a new option called , which divides the cost of a purchase into four equal parts over six weeks. With iOS 16, ID cards stored in Apple Wallet can also be used to verify your age in apps. The addition comes after Apple first added support for digital ID last year.
Google, meanwhile, detailed a major overhaulduring its I / O conference last month updating it with Apple. The new Google Wallet will store personal documents such as payment and transit cards, vaccination records, boarding passes and student IDs, much like the Apple Wallet. Google also works with government agencies to support digital ID.
Taken together, Apple’s and Google’s updates represent another step towards their common goal of making physical wallets obsolete – a change that will inevitably make us even more dependent on mobile devices.
Google reiterated this ambition just before detailing the new updates atin May.
“In fact, there are currently only two things I do not leave home without: my phone and my wallet,” said Sameer Samat, Android and Google Play’s vice president of product management, on stage. “So the question is, can my phone replace my wallet?”
Corey Fugman, Apple’s senior director for Wallet and Apple Pay, made similar comments during the WWDC keynote on Monday.
“With Apple Wallet, we’re working hard on our goal of replacing your physical wallet,” he said.
People have already embraced the idea of replacing physical credit cards with smartphone-based payment apps. The use of in-store mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay is expected to exceed 50% of all smartphone users in the US by 2025, according to a 2021 report from eMarketer. Apple’s new Pay Later option and Google’s renewed focus on its own mobile wallet can make the idea of leaving your physical wallet at home even more appealing.
Your phone, everywhere
Replacing the wallet is just one way that Apple and Google hope to make our phones more useful offline in everyday life. Both companies also introduced camera-based smartphone tools that can make navigating real-world places of interest easier. Another prominent theme is the increased connection between mobile devices and household appliances, cars and speakers.
Apple and Google both believe that the camera will continue to play a major role in how we interact with the world around us. In iOS 16, you will be able to translate text into different languages with a new camera option in Apple’s Translate app. Under his, the company showed how this could be used to translate an entire restaurant menu into another language. You will also be able to track a flight or convert currency just by tapping the text in a photo.
Google showed an ambitiouscalled “scene explorer” on Google I / O, which mainly applies its real-world search capabilities. You would wave your phone’s camera over a shelf of products, and it would put information and ratings on the screen to help you find the right choice. Google search manager Prabhakar Raghavan mentioned the possibility of finding nut-free snacks or fragrance-free lotions in a physical store as an example.
The design may be different, but the concept is similar. We are already used to ordering food, taxis and household items at the touch of a button on our phones. Now Apple and Google want to make our phones an important part of performing this task in the real world, and the camera will be an important part of it.
Google and Apple have also refined their respective visions to turn our phone into a connection hub for other devices around us. Google explained howwould make your phone better at connecting to other devices with support for fast pairing, automatic sound switching between devices and the ability to more easily synchronize messages between your phone and computer. It also revealed which should make multitasking easier when you are traveling.
Apple simplified the process of managing HomeKit devices with a redesigned home app for the iPhone. But perhaps the biggest area where Apple plans to widen the iPhone’s range is in the car. The company teasedwhich looks like a complete operating system for cars, complete with app icons, widgets and other user interface elements reminiscent of iPhone and .
The smart home and the connected car are not new ideas. They have both been an integral part of Apple’s and Google’s respective strategies for several years. But iOS 16 and Android 13 clarify how Apple’s and Google’s visions for these devices will communicate and interact.
When the smartphone becomes the link to everything from your credit card to your thermostat and car, Apple and Google make its aesthetics more personal. When iOS 16 launches this fall, your iPhone will getwith support for Apple Watch-like widgets and new photo effects for wallpapers. Google is expanding its Material You with ready-made color schemes that can be applied throughout the operating system.
There is much more with iOS 16 and Android 13 than new wallet functionality, camera tools for scanning real objects and improved connectivity. These updates not only signal how important the phone will be for both our online and offline lives, they also point out where the industry is headed next.
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